Joseba Fernandez was on one leg (“joke”) of his round the world cycle tour. We couldn’t resist giving him a couple of free nights rest at Planet.
Where are you from? I’m from the Basque country, in the capital Vitoria near San Sebastian. I have done the Camino trail many times, sometimes walking, sometimes cycling. In the North, you cross all the beaches and the French Camino covers all the wonderful cathedrals and I enjoyed it a lot. For me this is the essence of travelling. The basics … you don’t need anything just your back pack and you just walk. On the Camino trail, there are a lot of hostels and you can just rest when you want. It took me one month to walk about 750 km.
What made you decide to cycle around the world? It’s a long story, I have been travelling a lot before. I have been in 56 countries. I have been from Vitoria to Mongolia by car and for me this trip now it was a dream to travel a long time without thinking it’s going to be half a year or one year, just to travel. I started in Nepal. I flew from Vitoria to Nepal. One part of my trip was always going to be by bicycle but I didn’t take my bicycle from Vitoria I bought that in Laos. I did what I feel in every moment. I started doing yoga and meditation in different parts of India and Myanmar and also I did a Reiki course. I was travelling in India by bus. I travelled in India, Myanmar and Sri Lanka by bus or hitch hiking. I saw so many villages that I thought I would like to stay in a village but when you are travelling by bus you cannot stop whenever you want. I tried to live as much as possible with the local people. So, I decided to buy a bicycle to be more independent and to be more with the local people. I started cycling and then after a few months that is when I decided to start cycling around the world. I was travelling already for one and a half years by the time I decided to start cycling around the world.
Where have you travelled so far? I started cycling in Laos and from there I went to Thailand, I stopped and exchanged my yoga teaching for my accommodation and food. I stayed for two months doing that. Then I went to Malaysia, I crossed through all of Malaysia through the high mountains, then Singapore and I took a ferry from Singapore to Batam an Indonesian Island.
What about your Indonesian Visa? I got that in Malaysia for two months and then I extended it for another month. From Batam I cycled to Jakarta. From Jakarta I did all the East, Bromo, Agenmountain and then I took a ferry to Bali and then I cycled all the North of Bali. I came across by ferry to Lombok and stayed in Kuta Lombok.
Where do you sleep? Normally I sleep, depending on the country, in Buddhist monastaries, in mosques here in Indonesia and Malaysia, schools, fire stations, and with the local people in small villages in their homes. My yoga mat is for doing yoga and is my bed as well. I can sleep anywhere. I have a mosquito net and a tent.
What is the very best story that you have so far? The people that I meet. In Java in Agan mountains I see so many people working long hours taking sulphur from the mountain crater. They are paid Rp800 (USD 5 cents) per kilo of sulphur and they take about 100 kgs every day which is about USD$5. They are still smiling. I saw this in different countries. In Sri Lanka the girls picking the tea leaves for small salary. It seems like a really tough life but the people are content with their lives. For me, it’s like a lesson every day I learn from these people. I saw in Spain where I live, people are not happy. Most people have a supposedly good life, everything and still they are not happy. Normally we complain because the water is not hot. We don’t say thank you because I have water. The people I meet are teaching me to say thank you for what we have. In Spain, there is a huge crisis and the atmosphere is bad and the people are depressed, there is bad energy. There are complaints about the Government. Now, I have forgotten about that. It has always been a dream for me to do a trip like this but when the crisis in Spain arrived I thought this is the moment for my dream trip. It’s amazing how much I have learned.
Have you had any bad experiences? Most of my experiences have been good ones. I am easy going so I don’t need much. If I don’t have a place for sleep I say “no problem”. If I lost something, for example, a few months ago someone stole my emergency money. I try to manage without it. I don’t have emergency money now. It would have lasted me three months this money but I try not to think about it as a problem. This is a lesson I have learned to not think of things as a problem. In India I was sick for a week and I recovered so no problem. Things that happen to me, are normal things, its only when I talk to others that it seems that these things are interesting to people. I have slept in the same bed as the Iman in a mosque, with the police but not in jail and in fire stations. Really amazing places and also really disgusting places, really dirty and some really beautiful places like Heaven on the Planet.
What about your family? I have my parents and my sister. My sister is 39 years old and I am 41 years old. I have no wife or partner, yet. Every day my family asks “when am I coming home?” They are worried. I send photos to make them feel better.
Where are you going next?Next, my plan is to go further East, Sumbawa, Flores and then I don’t know. Maybe up to Sulawesi or East Timor. It will depend on my visa extension. Then Australia and New Zealand.
Do you have a plan where you are going to go in Australia? Not yet, it depends what time of the season. Many people have told me the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, so maybe I will start there. I will try to find some work to keep travelling.
From New Zealand where? This is like the second part of my trip. The first part is backpack and the second part is with my bicycle. From NZ, I think I will go to Argentina, Bolivia and Peru and start to go up until Alaska and then across United States. Now this is a dream, I only think a couple of weeks or a couple of months in advance. I don’t want to think one year ahead. My plan is to cycle around the world, I don’t know how I am going to do it. I just want to think a little ahead as my plans change all the time. I just flow with my heart.
Footnote: Jose is a wonderful person who sets an example for us all. He learned from others, and we learned from him during his stay at Heaven on the Planet. It was a pleasure to welcome Jose and give him a few days in “luxury”. We wish him all the best and hope to see him again someday.
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